A Texas middle school teacher was fired and asked to apologize last week after she assigned her eighth-grade students to read an explicit passage from the illustrated adaptation of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.”
The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District let the educator go Wednesday after the text from the “unapproved” book was read during class, KFDM reported.
The passage in question was a diary entry from Frank, a Jewish teenager who documented her years hiding from Nazis in an attic in the German-occupied Netherlands, in which she wrote about male and female genitalia, according to text reviewed by the local CBS affiliate station.
The entry, written by Frank in the early 1940s when she was around the same age as the eighth-graders, had been scrapped from previous versions of her diary widely used in history lessons on the Holocaust for decades.
But, the comic-book version of the book “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” adapted by Ari Folman, the son of Holocaust survivors, and published in 2018 includes the excerpt on sexuality.
The mother of twin brothers in the eighth-grade class told the station that her sons came home and said their teacher made students read the sexually explicit passage out loud.
“I mean it’s bad enough, she’s having them read this for an assignment, but then she also is making them read it aloud and making a little girl talk about feeling each other’s breasts and when she sees a female she goes into ecstasy, that’s not OK,” Amy Manuel said.
The school district sent an email to parents Tuesday evening stating that the teacher would apologize for assigning the book.
“It was brought to the administration’s attention tonight that 8th grade students were reading content that was not appropriate,” the email said, according to KFDM. “The reading of that content will cease immediately. Your student’s teacher will communicate her apologies to you and your students soon, as she has expressed those apologies to us.”
The illustrated and unabridged version of Anne Frank’s Diary was listed on a reading list sent to parents at the start of the school year, but district officials said it was never approved, the station reported. The district has since launched an investigation into the disparity.
A substitute teacher has been leading the reading class since last Wednesday, the school district said.
“The district is currently in the process of posting to secure a high-quality, full-time teacher as quickly as possible,” the district said.
The graphic novel adaptation of the historical book has created controversy at schools before — including at Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth’s Keller Independent School District where it was pulled off library shelves last year.